How Thyroid Disorders Affect The Gallbladder
In a 2016 study titled “Thyroid Dysfunction, Either Hyper or Hypothyroidism, Promotes Gallstone Formation by Different Mechanisms,” researchers induced mice to have either hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or a normally functioning thyroid. Then for five weeks, they fed the mice a lithogenic diet that would potentially form cholesterol crystals. They found that 100% of the hyperthyroid mice developed gallstones as did 83% of the mice with hypothyroid, but only 33% of those with a normally functioning thyroid developed stones. Researchers concluded that thyroid dysfunction promotes the formation of gallstones. They wrote,
“Hyperthyroidism induces cholesterol gallstone formation by regulating expression of the hepatic nuclear receptor genes such as Lxr and Rxr, which are significant in cholesterol metabolism pathways. However, hypothyroidism induces cholesterol gallstone formation by promoting cholesterol biosynthesis.”
Different mechanisms may be at play depending on whether the thyroid is over or under active. However, the results appear to be the same.
Preventing A Gallbladder Attack
You can implement healthy choices into your lifestyle to prevent gallbladder problems. The easiest thing you can do is adjust your diet. Mayo Clinic suggests eating high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You should also try to eat your meals at the same time each day and maintain a healthy weight.
How To Treat Gallbladder Disease
Medications can be used to treat gallbladder infections and reduce the size of gallstones. Many gallstones go away on their own. Exercise and a healthy diet low in trans fats can also help improve circulation and gallstone function.
In cases of gallbladder malfunction, your doctor may recommend that you undergo surgery to have the organ removed. This is often an outpatient procedure.
For more information on outpatient medical care and specialty surgery, contact BASS Medical Group at 350-4044.
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Gallbladder Health Part I: Be Good To Your Gallbladder Its There For A Reason
Gallbladder problems including gallbladder attacks are very common reasons for which people seek medical care. The pain and discomfort can unfortunately result in the removal of the little green organ followed by dietary restrictions . But of course, all of our organs are there for one reason or another and although we can live without the gallbladder, removing it is simply removing a symptom of a problem, not the actual cause. In this two-part article on the gallbladder Ill discuss why you have a gallbladder, why you should want to keep it , warning signs that your gallbladder isnt working well, risk factors, and natural treatments and lifestyle changes you can make to improve your gallbladder and overall health yeah! If I can just save one more gallbladder Ill be a happy guy.
Changes In Stool And Urine Color
If a gallbladder dysfunction causes very little or no bile to be secreted, you may notice that your urine and stool change color. The lack of bile could be due to a blockage in the bile duct or another gallbladder issue.
According to gastroenterologist, Dr. Ali A. Siddiqui, a backup of bile in the liver can turn your urine brown. Depending on where the blockage occurs, you may also experience symptoms of pancreatitis.11
Signs of an acute gallbladder attack could also result in passing gray-colored or whitish stool. Dr. John P. Cunha on eMedicineHealth says that a lack of bile in the digestive system can turn stool clay-colored. The light-colored stool happens over time as the gallbladder disease progresses.12
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Should You Use A Laxative For Constipation After Gallbladder Removal
If the above lifestyle and dietary modifications fail, your doctor may prescribe a laxative to treat constipation after gallbladder removal.
Some laxatives are available over-the-counter. However, we prefer to ask your doctor about the best laxative that fits your condition.
Common laxatives that can be used:
- Start with a fiber laxative such as Psyllium . Always drink plenty of water to get the benefits of fiber laxatives. Methylcellulose is a reasonable alternative.
- A stool softener such as docusate sodium can also help.
- Stronger osmotic laxatives such as Polyethylene glycol can be used in severe cases.
- Also, a stimulant suppository such as glycerin suppository can help temporarily relieve acute constipation after gallbladder surgery.
Signs And Symptoms Of Gallbladder Disease
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The gallbladder is a 4-inch-long pear-shaped sack located beneath the liver. It stores the bile produced by the liver and sends it down to the small intestine. Bile, in turn, breaks down fat. This allows nutrients to be better absorbed into your bloodstream.
Like any organ, the gallbladder can develop diseases. Most people have heard of gallstones, the hard particles that build up inside the gallbladder when it doesnât empty fully or correctly. This disease is called choledocholithiasis. But other diseases can afflict your gallbladder as well.
Acalculous gallbladder disease describes the inflammation of the gallbladder, even when no gallstones are present. An underperforming gallbladder is afflicted with biliary dyskinesia. Sclerosing cholangitis refers to ongoing inflammation in the bile ducts, which causes them to scar. While all these diseases are serious, gallbladder cancer and gangrene of the gallbladder are even more so.
Here are some signs and symptoms that your gallbladder might not be working as it should.
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What Can Trigger Gallbladder Pain
An inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. In addition to trauma, illness, infection, tumors, or when bile builds up in your gallbladder from gallstones, cholecystitis can also occur as a result of other factors. In less than half of cases, bile duct problems, tumors, or bacteria are the cause of the problem.
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Test Used To Evaluate For Gallbladder Disease
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Can Gallbladder Cause Diarrhea
Can gallbladder problems cause diarrhea after eating?
Nausea and vomiting may occur. Chronic gallbladder disease involves gallstones and mild inflammation. In such cases, the gallbladder may become scarred and stiff. Symptoms of chronic gallbladder disease include complaints of gas, nausea and abdominal discomfort after meals and chronic diarrhea.
does having your gallbladder removed affect your bowel movements?didbowel movementwillhavingbowel movementsgallbladder removalcana
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When To See A Doctor
People who have symptoms of gallbladder issues, such as upper abdominal pain, should always consult a doctor. In many cases, gallbladder problems appear as attacks.
These attacks may last several hours, disappear, and then come back later. Any intense abdominal pain with no obvious cause warrants a call to a doctor.
Most people with gallbladder sludge can lead normal, healthy lives. Many require no treatment at all. But an accurate diagnosis can rule out potentially dangerous problems, such as a pancreas infection or pancreatic cancer.
In most cases, a doctor will perform an ultrasound to see the gallbladder and check for gallbladder sludge.
In some cases, a doctor may need to remove a small amount of fluid from the gallbladder. The doctor uses a needle to remove some bile that will be analyzed under a microscope.
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Gallbladder Physiology: Bile Is So Good For You
Lets take a brief lesson in gallbladder physiology here, and Ill make it interesting and relevant to your everyday health. The gallbladder is a small organ that sits tucked up underneath the liver in the upper right side of your abdomen. It concentrates and stores bile produced by the liver, and along with the enzyme lipase secreted by the pancreas, it aids in the digestion of fats in the gut. When fats from food enter the digestive tract they stimulate the secretion of a type of hormone called cholecystokinin in the upper part of the small intestine the duodenum. This, along with the stomachs secretion of hydrochloric acid, signals the gallbladder to release some of its approximately 50mL of bile into the gut to help aid in digestion of those fats. Since by most, its viewed as a storage tank and nothing more, its often seen as only a nuisance when it comes to digestive problems and pain expendable at the first sight of problems and removable with surgical ease. But theres so much more to it than just storage.
Speaking of hormones, just a few years ago it was demonstrated that the gallbladder also plays a role in insulin regulation and that -like cells that produce insulin in the pancreas also occur in the gallbladder. Insulin is also metabolized by the liver and can therefore have an effect on the bile salts so diets high in refined carbohydrates and those with insulin resistance will also be more likely to have troubles with their gallbladder.
Abnormalities Found In Scans
The gallbladder is a hollow organ, and gallstones can show as solid masses in the gallbladder or the bile duct on an ultrasound. This non-invasive test is the usually the first step to investigating problems in the gallbladder, explains Dr. Yang. Doctors can take note of the size of the gallbladder and if any swelling or thickening of the walls has occurred, as those may be signs of inflammation. Other tests include magnetic resonance imaging, or MRIs, which can be more helpful to look at ducts. Finally, a hepatobiliary, or HIDA, scan can show how well the gallbladder is emptying itself. During the test, a radioactive tracer in injected in your arm and used to visualize the ducts. Sometimes these procedures can be helpful when a gallbladder disease diagnosis isnt clear on an ultrasound. ” may explain why someone may be having gallbladder symptoms without clearly a stone or something causing obstruction,” says Dr. Yang.
While right-sided abdominal pain is a classic symptom of gallbladder disease, sometimes what feels like abdominal pain is actually a heart or lung condition. “People may have atypical presentations of heart attacks or other cardiac problems, and these may present as abdominal pain rather than chest pain,” says Dr. Yang.
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Do The Pain And Symptoms Occur In All Patients With Gallstones
No. There are over 20 million Americans with gallstones but only about 750,000 gallbladders removed per year. In addition, about 1 million new cases will be diagnosed each year. Therefore, most patients with gallstones have no symptoms or symptoms so mild they do not affect their lifestyle. It is estimated that only 20% of people with gallstones and no symptoms will develop symptoms during the next twenty years of their life. However, people who do have symptoms are likely to continue to have symptoms. Furthermore, in a large percentage of symptomatic patients, the frequency and severity of the attacks increase over time.
Pain Relievers Dont Help
If either biliary or chronic pain doesn’t improve with an OTC pain reliever, it may also be an indication that you have a gallbladder problem. Experiencing little improvement after a change in position, bowel movement, or after passing gas are also indications. “These kind of rule out other things and may help us target the gallbladder more specifically,” says Dr. Yang.
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Gallbladder Problems And Your Gut
If you have a poorly functioning gallbladder you may develop the following problems:
- Pale colored stools
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome which can vary from constipation to diarrhea
- A deficiency of fat soluble vitamins , which can lead to osteoporosis and a weak immune system
- Discomfort in the right upper abdomen which can refer pain to the right shoulder
Normal healthy feces or stools are brown in color and this is due to the pigments in bile, namely stercobilin and urobilin. These dark pigments are derived from the breakdown of hemoglobin, which is the red pigment released into the blood stream when old red blood cells are broken down in the spleen. Bile also contains water, bile salts, bilirubin, cholesterol, fatty acids, lecithin and minerals.
To make healthy bile you need healthy liver cells. The liver cells make bile and secrete bile into tiny bile ducts which join up into big bile ducts, which take the bile to the small intestine. The gallbladder is a muscular sack that stores bile. When you eat a meal, the gallbladder squeezes a big spurt of bile into the small intestine so you can digest fats in your food. If you do not produce enough bile when you eat you will not digest and absorb fats. Bile is an important way that your liver excretes toxins and cholesterol from the body and you need to produce plenty of bile to do this.
Note that having your gallbladder out may not help any of your symptoms and may make your digestion much worse!
Medication And Lifestyle Remedies
In some cases, it may be possible to dissolve gallstones related to gallbladder sludge with medication.
Lifestyle remedies may prevent gallbladder sludge from recurring. Those strategies include:
- seeking treatment for alcohol abuse and abstaining from alcohol
- eating a low-fat diet
- avoiding rapid weight gain or weight loss
Treating underlying medical conditions can also help with gallbladder sludge since being in generally poor health can be a risk factor for this problem.
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Gallstones Symptoms You Need To Know About
Anywhere from 20 to 25 million people in the U.S. have a problem with their gallbladder, the small pear-shaped organ that sits underneath the liver and stores bile, a digestive fluid that helps break down fats.
The most common gallbladder problem is gallstones, crystallized clumps of bile and dissolved cholesterol that form in the gallbladder or bile duct, the tube that carries the bile to the small intestine. Gallstones can cause inflammation and pain, and lots of people have themup to 20% of women and 10% of men in the U.S. by the age of 60and they can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball.
Women are more likely to develop gallstones, and changes in the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone can slightly increase gallstone production. Estrogen boosts the amount of cholesterol in your bile, and progesterone slows the emptying of the gallbladder. The risk of forming gallstones is increased slightly by pregnancy or even oral contraception, which affect hormone levels.
Most people have these stones with no symptoms, often called “silent stones,” and they do not require treatment, but for people experiencing symptoms from gallstones or low-grade gallbladder inflammation, surgery to remove the gallbladder is the most common recommended treatment.
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Chest And Abdominal X
Symptomatic cholecystitis will sometimes show stones on abdominal X-rays if the stones contain calcium. An X-ray of the chest may show pleurisy or pneumonia.
However, X-rays arent the best test for identifying gallbladder disease. Theyre often used to rule out other potential causes of pain thats not related to gallstones, the gallbladder, or the liver.
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New Relief For Chronic Diarrhea
Aug. 17, 2000 No one likes to talk about it, but for millions of Americans, chronic diarrhea is not just an embarrassment, its a crippling disorder that takes a devastating toll on quality of life. I couldnt go anywhere, recalls Mary Petrozzello, 76. I would get all dressed up and then have to stay home. I was afraid to budge it was horrible.
Making the problem worse was the fact that in some cases, nothing seemed to help the symptoms go away. But now a study in the August issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology shows that people with chronic, intractable diarrhea may be suffering from gallbladder dysfunction. Treatment with a drug known as cholestyramine, or Questran, originally developed for patients who have had their gallbladders removed, may bring relief when other approaches have failed.
Study author Saad Habba, MD, a gastroenterologist in private practice in Summit, N.J., tells WebMD that chronic diarrhea afflicts approximately 10% of patients who have undergone gallbladder removal. He decided to perform this study when he noticed that many of his chronic diarrhea patients were behaving as if they didnt have a gallbladder.
The presenting complaint of these patients was diarrhea , he tells WebMD. Some of my patients were afraid to eat because they would immediately have to go to the bathroom.
Petrozzello puts it more succinctly: Thank God for Dr. Habba
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